U.S. to Offer Over 1 Million Acres Offshore Alaska in Upcoming Oil and Gas Lease Sale

cook inlet rigs
Photo: Vlad Karpinskiy/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on Friday announced it will offer approximately 1.09 million acres off Alaska’s southcentral coast for oil and gas development in a lease sale scheduled for June.

Cook Inlet Oil & Gas Lease Sale 244 will offer 224 blocks toward the northern part of the federal Cook Inlet Planning Area for leasing. The blocks stretch roughly from Kalgin Island in the north to Augustine Island in the south.

“We conducted a robust environmental analysis and look forward to holding Alaska’s first OCS lease sale since 2008,” said Dr. Walter Cruickshank, BOEM’s acting director. “The areas offered for leasing represent a careful balance between jobs, energy development, and natural resource protection.”

The lease sale is the thirteenth and final OCS lease sale under the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017 (Five-Year Program), which have together netted more than $3 billion for American taxpayers.

In December 2016, BOEM published a Final Environmental Impact Statement relating to the lease sale. The EIS analyzed the important environmental resources and uses (e.g., sea otter and beluga whale populations; subsistence activities; commercial fishing of pacific salmon and halibut; and more) that currently exist within the Cook Inlet Planning Area and identified robust mitigation measures to be considered in leasing the area. Mitigation measures identified in the Final Notice of Sale would protect sea otter, beluga whales, and subsistence, recreational and commercial fisheries.

The lease sale terms include stipulations to protect biologically sensitive resources, mitigate potential adverse effects on protected species, and avoid potential conflicts associated with oil and gas development in the region. BOEM’s proposed economic terms are designed to encourage diligent development and ensure a fair return to taxpayers.

Cook Inlet Oil & Gas Lease Sale 244 is scheduled for June 21.